tv CNN Newsroom CNN June 28, 2010 1:00pm-3:00pm EDT
court there. a dramatic day for the court. the last day on the bench for justice john paul stevens. also a dramatic day in washington. the big question of who will get that spot next, right there in the united states' capitol building is where elena kagan, the president's nominee to be the 112th member of the supreme court. you see her sitting right there, let's listen into the hearing. the second ranking republican, the number two republican of the committee, orrin hatch, beginning his opening statement. >> he stood up for it all the time. and, of course, i had nothing but great respect for him. i remember in the early years when i let the fight against labor law reform he wasn't very happy with me, and frankly, i wasn't very happy with him, either. but in the end, i gained such tremendous respect for him and love -- and even though we differed on so many issues. he was a towering figure. the ginsbergs celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary a few days ago. not as long as the 68 years that senator and erma byrd were married before her death, but a
good long time, nonetheless. cancer was a part of the ginsbergs' individual lives in their lives together, and i know each of them was a source of strength and stability to the other. the ginsbergs have been a model of dignity and grace and their children will be in my prayers. i want to welcome you back to the judiciary committee, miss kagan. something tells me this is likely to be your last confirmation hearing. the senate's role of advice and consent ask s a check on the president's power to appoint. fulfilling that role requires us to evaluate a nominee's qualifications for a particular position for which she has been nominated. the qualifications for judicial service include both legal experience and judicial philosophy. while legal experience summarizes the past, judicial philosophy describes how a nominee will approach judging in
the future. my primary goal in this confirmation process is to get the best picture i can general kagan's judicial philosophy, primarily from her record, but also from this hearing, as well. i have to make my decision whether to support or not support her nomination on the basis of evidence, not on blind faith. i have never considered the lack of judicial experience to be an automatic disqualifier for a judicial nominee. approximately one-third of the 111 men and women who have served on the supreme court have had no previous judicial experience. what they did have, however, was an average of more than 20 years of private practice experience. in other words, supreme court nominees have had experience behind the bench as a judge before the bench as a lawyer or both. miss kagan worked for two years in a law firm. the rest of her career as an ack democrat i can't and politics. she brings experience, quote, in
the political circus that often defines washington, end quote. one of my democratic colleagues on this committee recently said that miss kagan's strongest qualifications for the supreme court are her experience in crafting policy and her ability to build consensus. the value of such experience depends on whether you view the supreme court as a political circus or view its role as crafting policy. i believe that the most important qualification for judicial service is a nominee's judicial philosophy, or her approach to interpreting and applying the law to decide cases. this is what judges do. but different judges do it in radically different ways. our liberty, however, requires limits on government, and that includes limits on judges. chief justice marshal wrote in marbury versus madison that america's founders intended the constitution to govern the judicial branch as much as the legislative branch. unfortunately, many judges today do not see it that way, but
believe that they may themselves govern the constitution. the senate and the american people need to know which kind of justice general kagan will be. will the constitution control her, or will she try to control the constitution? does she believe that the words of the constitution and statutes can be separated from their meaning so that the people and their elected representatives put words on the page, but judges may determine what those words actually mean? does she believe it is valid for judges to mold and steer the law to achieve certain social ends? does she believe that a judge's person experience and values may be the most important element in her decisions? does she believe that courts exist to protect certain interests? does she believe that judges may control the constitution by changing its meaning? does she believe the judges may change the meaning of statutes in order to meet what judges believe are new social objectiv objectives? these are just some of the questions that go to the heart
of a nominee's judicial philosophy. i want to clarify as best i can what kind of judges -- what kind of a justice general kagan would be. to do that, i have to examine her entire record. as in previous hearings, there will no doubt be some tension during this hearing between what senators want to know and what general kagan is willing to tell us. unlike previous hearings, however, miss kagan has already outlined quite clearly what she believes a supreme court nomination would be willing to be talk about at a hearing like this. without this information, miss kagan has written the senate, quote, becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public, end quote. miss kagan identified the political inquire re as vote, the votes she would cast, the perspective she would, and the directive she would move the institution. but the bottom line must concern the kinds of judicial decisions
that will serve the country and what effect the no, ma'minee wi have on the court's decisions. if that is too results-oriented, so be it. she argued it necessary for supreme court confirmation hearings to be more than farce in a law article when she was a professor after working on this committee on a supreme court confirmation. i believe you'll hear a lot about the law review article. she was not a student writing a blog about some hypothetical topic that she knew nothing about. i'm confident that senators will give miss kagan many opportunities in the next few days to provide the information and insight that she has argued is critical for the senate properly to make a decision on her confirmation. this is a critical decision. and it is about more than just one person. our decision will affect liberty
itself. george washington said this in his federal address. quote, the basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and alter their constitutions of government. but the constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people is sacredly obligatory upon all, end quote. the people's right to make and order the constitution means nothing if the people choose the constitution's words. the judges choose what those words mean. a judge with that much power would effectively take an oath to support and defend not the constitution, but herself. i hope that this hearing will help me further understand what kind of a justice miss kagan would be. and i wish you well, and look forward to the rest of these hearings. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, very much, senator hatch. >> senator orrin hatch, who is the number two republican on the committee, used to be number
one, but gave it up to go over in the health committee on the u.s. senate side. he sort of gave it up at the beginning of his statement, saying that he suspected that this would be the last time that elena kagan will be up you for confirmation hearings. sounds like he thinks she is going to be confirmed. we want to continue, of course, monitoring this for you, but we also have our dana bash up on capitol hill who has been watching and listening to every word. dana? >> i think orrin hatch, candy, might be a barometer of what we will see going forward with republicans. and here's why. orrin hatch has served on this committee since 1977 and he has voted on a dozen, twelve supreme court nominations and the only one he voted against, talking about nominees for republican and democratic candidateses, sonia sotomayor, and she was one he said good things about, just as elena kagan he applauded in terms of intellect and mind. i'm not saying that orrin hatch is for sure going to vote no,
but in this political climate, that senator from utah who saw his colleague toppled by fellow conservatives for not being conservative enough, that gives you a window into the political climate, particularly that these republicans are dealing with. the pressure that they are under from conservative activists in particular, to be pretty tough on the people who president obama puts forward, especially -- especially for a lifetime appointment to the supreme court. >> can't take the politics out of washington, no matter what you do, especially in an election year. thanks so much, our senior political correspondent, dana bash. we'll take a quick break, and after that, much more of the kagan hearings. - ♪ hey, what you doin' today - [ phone rings ] - [ horn honking ] - [ tires squealing ] ♪ i'm ridin' down the highway i'm just rollin' ♪ [ announcer ] without the right auto insurance, a crash might impact more than your car. [ no audible dialogue ] make sure you're properly covered... so when you're driving your car, you're not risking your house. [ cat yowls ]
live picture of the supreme court there on a beautiful but steamy summer monday in washington, d.c. the heat outside, we will see if it is matched inside, as the confirmation hearings in that building right there, the united states' capitol for elena kagan, president obama's choice to take the place of justice john paul stevens. you see elena kagan, currently the solicitor general, the top attorney to argue cases on the supreme court. at the moment, listening to a
statement from dianne feinstein. but a short time ago, the ranking republican on the committee, his name is jeff sessions, republican of alabama, he set the tone. he was polite, relatively soft-spok soft-spoken, but very tough in setting the tone as the republicans prepare to question this nominee in the coming days. let's listen. >> but there are serious concerns about this nomination. miss kagan has less real legal experience of any nominee in at least 50 years. and it's not just that the nominee has not been a judge. she has barely practiced law, and not with the intensity and duration from which i think real legal understanding occurs. miss kagan has never tried a case before a jury. she argued her first appellate case just nine months ago. while academia certainly has value, there is no substitute, i think, for being in the harness of the law, handling real cases over a period of years. >> again, that is jeff sessions, the ranking republican of the senate judiciary committee, singsly laying out the broad
outline of what will be the republican case against elena kagan in the coming days. let's take it around the table. a great group to talk about the law and politics. if you boil jeff sessions down, his argument is she is too political and she is not ready. >> that's true. and the fact that she does not have a record is a problem for both sides, actually here. because even her call, the democrats said i don't know what you stand for. so in a way, it's helpful to her, because no one can tar her with specific problematic positions she has taken. but on the other hand, it is a little mysterious, including to people who know her well, what she stands for. other than being a democrat. >> reporters like mysteries, but nobody else in town does, right? >> not the unknown. jeff sessions is a very interesting person, if you know his history. when i was at the justice department, he was a u.s. attorney. from alabama. he went through a horrible nonconfirmation hearing. he was turned down and the democrats treated him quite
rudely when he was nominated after he had been u.s. attorney for a federal judgeship. so he remembers that. jeff is a real southern gentleman. if we can have that kind of stereotype. so he will, throughout this hearing, never be impolite, because he was treated so impolitely by the judiciary committee when he was up for confirmation. >> you know, it's interesting, and ed and i were talking about this. of course, ed knows more about republican politics than i'll ever know. but jeff sessions could be the next chairman of this committee. and what you heard today was a really tough statement for him. sort of laying out every wedge issue for the republicans that have to do with her, including guns, including big government. including the military. saying, you know, okay, if i'm the next chairman of this committee, these are things i care about. >> 40% of all supreme court justices never served as judges before becoming a justice of the
supreme court. including legal giants like marshall and frank further. so we have a history putting judges on the supreme court and that should not disqualify. the other thing i believe mr. sessions -- while being a southerner, has a certain amount of charm, but a lot of -- he was also combative. and that will get you so far, especially when you're raising questions about her political experience. mentioning, of course, the dukakis campaign, a campaign that also served him. but look at justice roberts. look at some of the republicans. justice thomas. they also had significant political experience, as well, prior to going on the bench and serving in the executive branch. so, again, i don't think that's a disqualifier, as well. >> i don't think any of it is a disqualifier. i don't think there hasn't been in recent history -- there has been a pattern most recent judges have served on a circuit court somewhere, or at least
been a federal judge. and so we're kind of going back to a different place. obviously, harriet leers would have fit a similar pattern as this. i think everything he put forward were very legitimate things that have been asked for weeks and weeks now. and i thought his tone was decent, and i think at the end of the day, if he didn't do it, someone else would do it. but i think, obviously, as he knows well, everybody is not going to sit here all day and watch every one of these opinions, and so he laid out exactly what republicans want to know. the end of the day, she is probably going to be confirmed. but at the end of the day, she is going to have to answer these questions, or at least satisfy some people or she will lose a few republicans votes. >> to donna's comment, yes, 40% have not have justice experience, but not riszed politics. as gloria noted, if the republicans can pull off winning ten senate seats in the election, you have a change of power. it's a long shot, but some think it is possible. >> it is. and nothing is more important, particularly in the republican
party,in ed would agree, than the supreme court nominees. because they really -- i mean, every time -- if you're at a rally, as you know, when a presidential candidate mentions the supreme court, if it's a republican rally, the crowd goes crazy. and in some ways, there is -- you can liken this to who is watching these hearings. if you're going to watch these hearings and follow them really closely, you are pretty much a die-hard policy political wonk. and that's who their audience is here, and that's the kind of thing they want to have out there. >> one of the things that has struck me so far, and of course it's very early is the absence of certain subjects that have been standards at these committee hearings. abortion. same-sex marriage. both of them are incendiary issues that always wind up in front of the supreme court. >> give it time. >> i'm not sure, because i think both sides recognize that there are real down sides to making this a -- an issue about abortion or those social issues. >> gups guns is different.
i'm talking about abortion and gay rights. those have been, you know, big parts of confirmation hearings. but i think both sides may recognize --. you know what we're going to hear? we're going to hear new issues. we're going to hear health care reform, the question of immigration law. was the law in arizona a good law, bad law? you know, so i think these are new issues that could, in fact, replace those. >> absolutely. but that's a change. >> for the foreseeable future, this is going to be a 5-4 court. even if it shifts the other way, and every vote is going to matter. who ends up being the swing vote may alter. right now, it's kennedy. but long-term, he's not going to get two or three more supreme court justices, at least not in this term. and i think to a certain extent, republicans see an opportunity to shift to the other way. >> giving you a quick break here. we, of course, will be right back. we do have to take a break. more of the kagan hearings and more panel right after this. there is a medicare benefit that may qualify you for a new power chair or scooter at little or no cost to you. imagine... one scooter or power chair that could improve your
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. live pictures of the supreme court. a monday in washington, d.c. the court wrapped up its business today, said farewell to justice john paul stevens, an iconic figure on the court, one of the liberal leaders in the court in recent years -- recent decades, even. now right there, the woman president obama has chosen to replace justice stevens, elena kagan, a long history in democratic politics and academia. of some of the questioning focusing on the fact she has never been a judge. we will track the hearings as we go on and make the footnote, she will listen patiently for hours as senators give opening statements. as she begins what is likely to be a path to senate confirmation, but not first without some tough questioning from the republicans. we will continue to track this
throughout the day. we'll be back with our panel many times throughout the day, but, of course, there is other news happening and we want to go back to the cnn center in atlanta and check in with richard lui. >> we'll be following the confirm hearings here on cnn. we are watching other news. and of course our top story is what is happening in the gulf. the oil leak. it is 70 days since that spill first began. now, this is what we understand and what we know at the moment. 70 days in, and 28 days into hurricane season. that's a dangerous combination right now. we could have our first hurricane also entering the gulf before the end of the week so we're watching that, and fortunately, tropical storm alex looks like it's heading south and west at the moment. before we see where the storm is headed, we'll get a handle on where we stand at this 70-day point. so fortunately, as we look at this, there is some issues that we have to tell you about the tar balls. now washing up on mississippi
beaches for the very first time. mayor robby maxwell saying they have been planning for this moment for quite some time. the clean-up crews are there. they were ready to attack and are already hitting the shore there. also, let me give you more details here. the estimates we're seeing right now, 35 to 60,000 barrels each and every day. that total can be quite large. and we did that -- put that all together for you, over the 70 days, that adds up to about 2.3 million barrels, all the way up to close to 4 million barrels. 3.9. bp is saying they have now got 39,000 people that are working on this. the numbers before, about 22,000. they also have 5,000 vessels that are part of this clean-up effort. and when we take a look at the numbers, 652,000 barrels skimmed off of the surface that from the oil that has been coming up from, again, a mile underneath
the sea surface. 275 control burns have gotten rid of another 238,000 barrels, as well. and then 460,000 barrels have been siphoned at the leak site, knew that cap and what's called the q4000. but bp's plan siphoning operation, the cost, bp says it has spent $300 million in the past three days alone, bringing the clean-up recovery for them to about $2.6 billion so far. that's where we're at. at 70 days in to this spill. bp is not the only business, though, paying a high price for all of this. and, of course, we have been telling the stories of the workers, of the families that are living in the gulf, losing their ways of life, and sometimes losing hope, as well. t.j. holmes is live in new orleans. he invited a vietnamese fishing community in mississippi to get their story. and t.j., a very interesting sub
community that is involved and affected by this. >> yeah, that's a good way to put it, richard. a sub community. the gulf community as a whole that's involved with the seafood industry, they're all one big family. and many of these folks have had this in their system, in their blood. in their families. for generation after generation. but that subset you talk about, the vietnamese-american community, has had fishing in their family for one generation. one generation that came to the u.s., and this gulf. the gulf waters allowed them to start a family, to start a life, to have that american dream here in the u.s. well, now it appears the gulf waters that gave them that life, that is now about to be taken away. . >> and usually during the summer, imagine the crab stacking high up on the ceiling. >> how long has it been like this now? >> translator: ever since the oil spill. >> ever since the oil spill.
so is this the last of it? >> yes, the last of it. >> after a decade, the jennifer lae seafood company is down to this, a few baskets of fresh crab. and the owner, thai van lee has no hopes that more crab is on the way any time soon. so as of monday, he is shutting down the company he built from scratch. the company he named after his only daughter. do you have any ideas yet what you're going to do? >> me? >> yeah. >> i don't know what now. >> translator: coming over to america, he had nothing in his hand. so this is just like the same thing again. >> the oil disaster forced the closure of the gulf waters where le's suppliers catch crab. his supply has essentially been cut off. le and other vietnamese
americans in the gulf are in a particularly dire situation. 80% of them work in the seafood industry. many have been doing this work since they fled their country after the vietnam war to start a new life in the united states. and it's all they know how to do. >> this is my job. this shrimp was my job, shrimp boat was my job. so i don't plan to go anywhere. >> ton win is a shrimper getting by on the vessels of opportunity, mobilized by bp. >> how long can you sustain this? how long can you make it by going out and working for bp before you run out of money? >> hmmm. of i have no idea. >> the les are ready to start over, but for sentimental reasons, not quite ready to let go of this place. >> why not just sell it? [ speaking in vietnamese ] >> he says how much are you offering?
>> and it's amazing to see them. we visited them the day they were locking their doors, and it's amazing to see them in such good spirits. and the way they put it, they understand. a lot of people are hurting and emotional, and this is a tough time for everyone. but they say, for them at least, given what they've gone through, he said literally, i survived the fall of saigon. i survived coming to this country with nothing in my hand. i survived hurricane katrina, and you bet, i'll survive this too. and richard, just moving on to the next thing. he's going to do something else in the seafood industry, possibly craw fish, but moving on to the next thing. >> so very resilient, it. j., but not angry. is what you're saying. not angry. >> not anywhere close. i asked him that specifically. he said i'm not mad at bp or the government. and you will find a lot of people will tell you that bp, it was an accident. they wish it hadn't happened, but he said it was an accident, what can you do? and one other note. their so proud about what they do. about their water, about their
job. they don't want to go out and work for bp on those vessels of opportunity, but some have had to, and they have a choice to either do that and get paid or you take the bp claim check. once you show income on the vessels, you can't get the bp claim check. so a tough decision a lot of them are having to make. but the vietnamese community having a tough time as anybody, and certainly mentioned the language barrier is a big issue, as well. >> t.j., a great nuance to the struggle happening in the gulf. thank you so much for that story, the vietnamese community in new orleans. appreciate it. straight ahead, game, set match. whew! exhaustion. the longest tennis match in history was played last week. are the players still alive? do they have any energy. we've got the winner live right here after a short break. [ male announcer ] at toyota, we care about your safety. that's why we're investing one million dollars every hour... to improve our technology and your safety. it's an investment that's helped toyota earn multiple top safety pick awards for 2010
all right, we've all had long tennis matches, maybe a couple hours long or went into the evening, got a little hungry. but how about the longest in history of tennis that lasted over two or three days? we're talking about wimbledon. we're talking about john isner, and he is joining us right now with how he's doing today. because after 180 games, 11 hours, do i got that right, john? and what was -- >> yeah. >> i guess two nights you had to sleep through this entire thing. i was watching it as you did this. and i have to ask you, what happened? >> yeah, it was -- it was just absolutely crazy. i mean, the -- you know, we starred off the first day, and it was a pretty standard four-set match that got suspended by darkness which happens at wimbledon, so we figured we would come back the next day and finish off one more set. that has happened to everybody before, but that one set just
didn't want to end. we ended up playing i guess it was 118 games with no decider. and you know, we had to come back the next day and finish it off. >> so tell me, what was going through your mind, because as i was watching you play in and serve, i play tennis, i'm thinking, boy, i can't wait to get to the end of this. but you were, when you were hitting 40s and 50s, did you think this would ever end? >> yeah. i think once it got to 30-all, i really diplomat think it was going to end. because first off, you know, both of us were serving fantastic. and it got to the point where, you know, we didn't wan to make a mistake on our service game, so we were, you know, just conserving our energy, you know, for our service games. and, you know, we were still somehow able to hit an inordinate amount of aces time and time again. and every time someone got in a jam, we were both able to claw
our way out of it. you don't mind if i sing your praises? biggest record by an individual, now our good friend holds it at 112, most places by two players, formerly 96. now it is 215. so your service was right on throughout that entire game. did you hit a point, though, where you felt your bones aching or were you just completely in a zen moment? >> yeah, it was more like a zen moment. it was so much i was hurting physically -- i had some prettynarly blisters on my feet. i wear two pairs of socks on each foot for extra comfort, and my pinky toes bled through both of them. so that was pretty brutal. but -- >> that sounds great, john. that sounds really nice. >> yeah. it was ugly. good thing there are no pictures of that. but, yeah, it just -- we were both so exhausted and somehow
were keep able to hit winners. the only thing that kept me going was wanting to get to the changeover for the 90-second rest so i could start pounding more bananas and water and pounding more nutrition bars. >> let's talk about that. what do you eat? i mean, you're like a superman out there with this number of games. what's your regiment? >> yeah, you know, i tend to eat a lot of pasta the day before a match. you know, and just right before the match, i will just eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich. so i ate enough, you know, just to last me for maybe about two hours worth of tennis. i didn't know it was going to go eight on that one day that we didn't finish. but, you know, also for me, sips i sweat so much, i drink what's called a coconut water by a company called vita cocoa, and it puts the electrolytes back in my body quickly. and keep me from cramping. because in the past, i lost some
matches because my muscles would cramp up and i couldn't go on. >> you looked strong throughout this match. what did you eat after then, because obviously you completely depleted your body. what was that like? you just were completely ready to eat anything in sight? >> yeah. actually, right after the match, i wasn't that hungry. and i drank a protein shake immediately in the locker room, and actually andy roddick, whom i am sure you know, he left the locker room, went into town and brought, you know, my trainer, my coach and myself, you know, all sorts of food. pizza, chicken, masheded potatoes, ham, turkey, you name it, he brought it. and so once i finally got a bit of an appetite back, i just started wolfing that down as fast as possible. and i remember are staying up and eating until 2:00 a.m. that night. >> just nonstop. you just tried to make up for that time. so how do you train to prepare yourself for something like wimbled wimbledon? in this case, you had no idea you would be playing over three days. >> yeah. well, for me, you know, i
practiced in the heat of tampa, florida, which right now, it's hot as it can possibly be. it's 100 degrees, it's 100% humidity. you know, so i practice at a resort in tampa. and i had had a good, you know, little bit more than two weeks prior to wimbledon to get back in better shape and, you know, and just get strong and feel physically fit for the tournament. and actually, once we left, my coach actually jokingly said that i'll be able to play ten hours in wimbledon, because just of the extreme conditions i was practicing at. and sure enough, he was right. >> oh, he should have never said that to you. that's what actually made that match so long for you. now, i was watching how you and mahut got together and you sort of were eyeing each other as you were passing between every switchover. since that game, since the end of that match, have you guys talked, and what are some of the more personal moments you guys shared about what you accomplished together? >> yeah. well, you know, prior to this
match, he wasn't a guy that, you know, i was really good friends with. and it's not because he's a bad guy. is just our paths never really crossed that much. but i knew going into the match that he is one of the classier guys on tour, and, you know, all on the atp tour, and he really showed that, just way he competed and the way he fought the whole match and never really got down on himself, was really admirab administrat admirable. because he was a champion out there, and it stinks that someone had to lose, but obviously someone did. and we have exchanged words, you know, since the match. and it has just been both -- really just been a really complimentary of each other. >> you guys are brothers in history now. and i was talking with one of my fellow tennis players about this, and saying you guys effect difl did win wimbledon. after this over, we'll be talking about you and mahut. do you see it the same way? >> you know, i'm not sure. a lot of people obviously were
talking about that match, and rightfully so. we went 70-68 in the fifth. i think the longest previous match was 24-22. it's neat that we were both able to share that moment. but at the same time, you know, i lost in the second round. and that's not what i want to do. i'm at my highest ranking right now at 19 in the world, and losing in the second round in a grand slam isn't the best thing. but, you know, we both will probably be remembered for a long, long time. >> and good for branding, too. we'll be talking to you no doubt and seeing you in the media in the coming future. john isner, congratulations on what was a yeoman's workout in had wimbledon and something for all of us to experience with you. thanks again. >> thank you so much for having me on. >> you betcha. confirmation hearings going on right now for supreme court nominee elena kagan. we're watching that. and just ahead, we go live to d.c. where the best political team on television is covering every an elling of that.
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welcome back. that is the supreme court you're looking at, a live picture. on capitol hill. they are now beginning the confirmation hearings of elena kagan. she is who the president wants to be the next supreme court justice, replacing the retiring and now retired justice paul stevens. john paul stevens. what we want to do is take you right now back into that hearing room, where elena kagan, that's the nominee, is listening to senator arlen specter. lots of sub plots here, and one of them is the senator arlen specter lost his bid for the nomination to run for senate.
he is leaving, long-time member of this panel of the judiciary committee. this will presumably be the last time that he is involved in confirmation hearings, and we wanted to take a listen. >> since 1996 on congruence and proportionate ality, an impossible standard to accept as justice scalia described as a flabby test whichnabled judicial legislation. we have had had nominees who the sat where you sit not too long ago, who said they would the not jolt the system, and then agrieved the system. assured this panel that the legislative finding of facts is not a judicial function, and then turned that on its head in citizens' united on a record that is 100,000 pages long, and
finding that there's no basis for a 100-year-old precedent, which was overturned. certainly, a jolt to the system. when senator biden was considering the nomination of chief justice roberts, he said that he was qualified, but would vote against him, because as then senator obama said, quote, overarching political philosophy. close quote. well, the presidents make their selections based on ideology. i think that's a blunt fact of life. and the difference that i had considered in earlier -- my earlier days of the senate, i thought had come to the conclusion that senators have the same standing to make a determination on ideology. it has become accepted that
there should not be transgression into the area of judicial independence on how a case would be decided. there's an interesting case captioned minnesota versus wyatt, a justice scalia opinion in 2002, which struck down a requirement of the minnesota bar association, which prohibited judges from saying how they would decide cases. the supreme court said that was an infringement on first amendment rights of freedom of speech. now, that doesn't say that a judge should answer the question. but it does say that a bar association rule prohibiting answering the question is invalid, which leaves the judge, in as far as at least that standard is concerned, latitude to answer the question.
so even on the ultimate question of how a case will be decided, and in your law review article, you come very close to that when you talk about answering substantive relish use, really right on the line of how you would decide a case. but if we are precluded from asking how decisions would be -- what decision would be made on ground of judicial independence and the precedent on that, i do think it is fair for us to ask whether the supreme court would take a case. the congress has the authority to direct the supreme court on cases which must be heard. flag-burning case, mccain-feingold and many, many others, so that the court's discretion is limited there if there is a congressional
direction. i think it is fair from that proposition to ask a nominee whether they would take cases. i have spoken at length on the floor about what i consider the inappropriate decline of a number of cases considered. 100 years ago, a little more, in 1886, the supreme court decided 146 cases -- 146 opinions. little more than 20 years ago, 1987, 146 opinions. laft year, last term, 78 arguments, 75 opinions. a lot of circuit splits, important cases, are not taken up by the supreme court. the supreme court declined to hear the conflict which arguably is the most serious clash between congress's article 1 powers under the foreign
intelligence surveillance act, which sets the exclusive means for getting a warrant -- listening to a wiretap, probable cause, and the president's warrantiless wiretap program, justified under article 2. a detroit federal judge said it was unconstitutional, the sixth circuit with a standing decision, 2-1 with admittedly the dissenting opinion much stronger. application for cert denied, and this is something i discussed with you in our meeting, thank you. and in letters i intend to ask you about, and that was one of them. i was concerned about your decisions as solicitor general on the case involving the holocaust victims, suing an insurance company, and the
second circuit bows to the executive position, saying, well, that ought to be decided between italy and the united states on how that's to be handled. i think that's wrong. but at least the supreme court ought to decide it. i'm not going to ask you how you would decide the case, but would you consider it? >> republicans and democratic senator arlen specter of pennsylvania, a veteran of many processes, laying out how he views the test ahead for elena kagan, on the right, the solicitor general of the united states. now the president's choice to replace justice john paul stevens on the supreme court. we are waiting next one of the leading republicans of the committee, lindsay graham of south carolina, a key conservative voice. we want to listen to his statement. we'll take a quick break. the kagan confirmation hearings will resume in a moment.
welcome back to cnn's continuing coverage of the confirmation hearings of elena kagan to be the next justice on the u.s. supreme court, that building you see right there, that woman you see right there, inside the senate judiciary committee room where she's going to spend much of today listening to the senators talk about what they want to know and giving their preliminary feelings about her. a lot of lawyers on this committee. that won't surprise you. one of them is senator lindsey graham of south carolina, a republican, a conservative republican, not always as conservative as some in his state would like him. because this is a political year, those statements are even more closely watched. >> you support the idea a terror
suspect -- that was consistent with -- there are things you've done that i think merit praise and i will certainly, from my point of view, give you a chance to discuss those. you did two things -- you opposed military recruitment, which i thought was inappropriate but we'll have a discussion about what all that really does mean. it's a good example of what you bring to this hearing, a little of this and a little of that. what doe we no? we know you're very smart. you have a strong academic background. you got bipartisan support. the letter from miguel estrada is a humbling letter. it says a lot about him. it says a lot about you that he would write that letter. kenstar and ted olsen have suggested to the committee that you're a qualified nominee.
there's no doubt in my mind that you're a liberal person. that applies to most of the people on the other side. i'm a conservative person. and you would expect the conservative president to nominate a conservative person who did not work in the clinton administration. so the fact that you've embraced liberal causes and you've grown up in a liberal household is something we need to talk about but that's just america. it's okay to be liberal, it's okay to be conservative. but when it comes time to be a judge, you have to make sure you understand the limbs that that position places on any agenda, liberal or conservative. your judicial hero is an interesting guy. you're going to have a lot of explaining to do to me about why you picked judge brock as your hero because when i read his writings, it's a bit disturbing about his view of what a judge is supposed to do for society as a whole. but i'm sure you'll have good answers and i'll look forward to that discussion.
on the war on terror, you could, in my view, if confirmed, provide the court with some real world experience about what this country's facing, about how the law needs to be drafted and crafted in such a way as to recognize the difference between feiging crime and fighting a war. so you, in my view, have a potential teaching opportunity, even though you've never bp a judge, because you've represented this country as solicitor general at a time of war. the one thing ki say without certainty is i don't expect your nomination to change the balance of power. after this hearing is over, i hope the american people will understand that elections do matter. what did i expect from president obama? just about what i'm getting. and there are a lot of people that are surprised. well, you shouldn't have been if you were listening. so i look forward to trying to better understand how you will be able to take political
activism, association with liberal causes and park it when it becomes time to be a judge. that, to me, is your challenge. i think most people will consider you qualified because you've done a lot in your life worthy of praise. but it will be incumbent upon you to convince me and others, particularly your fellow citizens, that whatever activities you've engaged in politically and whatever advice you've given to president clinton or justice marshall, that you understand that you will be your own person, that you will be standing in different shoes, where it will be your decision to make, not trying to channel what they thought. and if at the end of the day, you think more like justice marshall than justice rehnquist, so be it. the question is, can you make sure that you're not channeling your political agenda, your political leanings when it comes time to render decisions?
at the end of the day, i think the qualification test will be met, whether or not activism can be part is up to you. and i look at this confirmation process as a way to recognize that elections have consequences and the senate has an independent obligation on behalf of the people of this country to put you under scrutiny, firm and fair, respectful and sometimes contentious. good luck. be as candid as possible. and it's okay to disagree with us up here. thank you. >> senator lind di graham, a key conservative voice on the senate judiciary committee member. an emotional moment on the floor of the united states senate as it comes in to order to remember its longest-serving member, robert byrd, who died this morning at the age of 92.
that is a live picture of the supreme court. hard, really, to oversell how powerful are the decisions made inside that building, which is why it is so important that today the judiciary committee has begun hearings on elena kagan, the president's choice to be the next sitting justice in that building. we have been listening to these hearings as well as the nominee, who has not spoken a word, as nominees don't, until all the members of the judiciary committee have their say. we want to give you sort of a brief review of some of the highlights we've heard so far. jeff sessions, republican, is the ranking republican leader on
the senate judiciary committee. he opened up with a very tough statement, basically outlining the republicans' current objections to the nominee. take a listen. >> during her time as dean at harvard, his kagan kicked the military out of the recruiting office in violation of federal law. her actions punished the military and demeaned our soldiers as they were courageously fighting for our country in two wars overseas. >> one of the big objections that we have heard leading up to these confirmation hearings, john. there were others as well, her position on gun rights will become quite an issue and her position as political operative, we've heard that a lot so far about -- what was the statement? she's more a political operative. more interested in politics than in the judicial system. we're hearing the preview of
what they're going. >> we are. and when the minority gets to its witnesses, some former military people will make those cases. robert byrd died this morning at the age of # 2, the longest serving senator. this is the senate chaplain paying tribute to robert c. byrd. >> empowered him to oppose without bitterness, to compromise with wisdom and to yield without being defeated. i thank you that he was my friend. lord, we pray for his loved ones, our senate family and all who mourn his passing. may his many contributions to our nation not be forgotten by this and succeeding generations.
may all of us who had the privilege of knowing our nation's longest serving legislator emulate his passion, patience and perseverance. give him a crown of rye shsness and permit him to hear you say, well done, good and faithful servant. we pray in your merciful name, amen. >> please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. >> we're going to leave the senate chamber there.
you saw the roses on the desk of robert c. byrd. he is the longest serving member of the senate. he new the rules like no one else. he carried a copy of the constitution in his pocket. you covered him for many years. as the senate begins the confirmation hearings into elena kagan today, they're all saying good-bye to a friend. a legendary lawmaker, not a perfect man. he was briefly a member of the kkk, also filibustered against the civil rights acts in the '60s. said it was one of the darkest days of his career. >> we want to go back to the senate floor, there is a moment of silence going on. we expect senator harry reid, who is the highest ranking democrat or the highest ranking senator at this point, senate majority leader, that is senator byrd's desk. this was just -- you talk about a blast from the past. i took a trip around west virginia with robert byrd at one point -- the senate now in a moment of silence for him --
everything there is named after robert byrd, the highways, the health clinics, the buildings, the fbi building. i remember when i did an interview with him, we went back and looked at it today because he made a remark that at the time i thought, i have to remember this. he was talking about his legacy and the ku klux klan and expressed great regret that he was a member. he said, i know when i die, that will be what people will talk about. but he also said to me, when i am dead and am opened, they will find west virginia written on my heart, which is so robert byrd. he loved that state. he was orphaned, his father gave him over to his aunt. just an incredible story. but he knew how to wield power. appropriations committee -- before we bring you in with your memories, let's go to senator harry reid. >> a senator from the state of hawaii to be president pro temp
of the president of the united states. >> without objection, the resolution is considered and agreed to. woit objection, senatwithout ob inoue will be escorted to the desk. >> robert c. byrd was the president pro tem of the senate. you see daniel inouye being sworn in. they both are throwbacks to a generation in which pork was a good thing. pork meaning a senator comes to washington to bring the bacon, to bring the money, to bring the projects back home. pork and earmarks have become a dirty word in recent years.
>> he build west virginia. >> they're the greatest generation as well. daniel inouye is missing his right arm which he lost fighting for his country in world war ii. >> and it was also a period of bipartisanship across those aisles. >> let's listen to senator harry reid. >> one of the most dedicated americans ever to serve this country. one of the most devoted men to ever serve his state and to ever serve in the united states senate. robert byrd's mind was among the greatest the world's ever seen. as a boy, he was called upon when he was in elementary school to stand before the class and recite not paragraphs from the assignment of the night before but pages of the night before. he did this with memory. from his graduation add valedictorian of his high school
class at the age of 16 to his death this morning at age 92, he mastered everything he touched with great thoughtfulness and skill. mr. president, this good man could drive from his home here in washington to west virginia and back, it takes eight hours. he could recite poetry for eight hours and never recite the same poem twice. i was asked by senator byrd to travel to west virginia to do an exchange with the british parliament. and there were a number of us there, eight or nine senators, and a light number of british parliamentarians. i remember that night so well. we had music up there, music he
liked best, bluegrass music. then it came time for the program. the program, senator byrd said, i'm going to say a few things. and he passed out little notebooks. had notebooked passed out to everyone there with a little pencil. and he proceeded standing there without a note to pronounce the reign of the british monarchs from the beginning to the end. he would give the dates that they served, some of the more difficult spellings, he would spell the name. and he would, as i indicated, if it was something that really he wanted to talk about that they had accomplished that he thought was noteworthy, he would tell us about that. that took about an hour and a half to do that. the british parliamentarians were stunned. they had never heard anyone do anything like that.
an american talking about the reign of the british monarchs. those of us who were senators, nothing surprised us that he could do from memory. i can remember, mr. president, that when he decided he was no longer going to be the democratic leader, that senator dole did on event for him in the russell building and all senators were there, democrat and republican senators, and he told us a number of things he didn't do. he told us a number of things he did do. for example, he read the encyclopedia britannica from cover to cover twice. he read the disk nair from cover to cover during one of our breaks. i've told this story on an
occasion or two. but to give the depth of this man's memory, i had been to nevada and he asked me when i came back, what did you do? i said, senator byrd i pulled a book out of my library on the way back. it was a paperback and i read "the adventures of robinson caruso." and he looked at me and held his head back a little bit and he said, robinson caruso, and he proceeded to tell me how long he had been on that island, 28 years, three months, a week and two days or whatever it was. i was stunned. i didn't know -- i went back and pulled the book out to see if he was right and he was right. he probably hadn't read that book in 35, 40 years. but he knew that. what a mind. it was really stunning the man's memory.
head of the political science department, andy tutle, taught a graduate course based on senator byrd's lectures on the roman empire. he gave ten lectures here on the senate floor on the fall of the roman empire. he gave the lecture because he was concerned because of the line item veto. and he felt the line item veto would be the beginning of the end of the united states senate and he proceeded to give ten lectures on the senate floor. every one of them from memory. timed just perfect. they ended in one hour, how much time he had been given. mr. president, the original roman emperors served for one year. he could do it from memory. he knew who they were, how long they served, know how to spell their names. truly, truly, unbelievably brilliant man. he's the only person to have
earned his law degree while as a member of congress. what he accomplished is really very, very long. but his thirst for knowledge was simply without equal. senator byrd once observed the longer he lived, the better he understood how precious the gift was of our time on earth. i quote senator byrd, as you get older, you see time running out. it's irretrievable, it's irreversible. but one should never retire from learning and growth. that was his quote. >> the senate majority leader harry reid leading the tributes to robert c. byrd. he died this morning at the age of 92. as the senate pays tribute, flags across washington flying at half staff today. among those who covered him over the years is dana bash who about 3 1/2 years ago sat down for what must be one of the final
television interviews the senator gave. >> reporter: that's right. it was to mark the time where he became the longest serving senator and boy, was he proud of that milestone. you can bet he was. and at the time he was taking me around his office showing me some of the things he's most proud of. and just interestingly what he had of all of the votes he took -- talking between 17,000 and 18,000 votes that he cast here in the united states congress -- what did he frame? he frame the vote he cast against going to the iraq war. he told me, i'm ashamed the senate on that occasion shifted its power to declare war to one man. and that gives you a sense of not only how he felt about war but how he felt about the power and prerogative of the legislative branch. you all were talking about the fact that he was known as the king of pork. that's another label that he wore very proudly. one of the watchdog groups noted that he sent $3 billion back to his small impoverished state of west virginia.
i asked him in that interview how he felt about that label, the king of pork. you have gotten the label "the king of pork." but you wear that as a badge of honor, don't you? >> i do. i'm here to represent the people of west virginia. and they want me to serve them. my state has been a landlocked state, a poverty-ridden state. my memory is as good as it ever was. and it's stock full of recollections about the poor people of west virginia, how they were laughed at. they were the laughing stock. yes, i'm a hillbilly, proud of it. but i knew what the people of west virginia sent me to washington for. they sent me to washington to represent them. >> reporter: and from his perspective, representing them was first and foremost, sending federal dollars back home to his impoverished state.
one other thing i want to mention, he was married to his wife, urma, for 69 years. and she died just before we did that interview. he was weeping -- openly weeping about his los. he would go to her grave constantly and many thought at that point he was starting to get more frail, that from there thereon in, he would do downhill a little bit faster. he had a real love story with his long-time wife. >> candy crowley, you walked those hauls many time. the congressional beat is so different in washington. in the halls of congress, you walk around -- we lost senator kennedy last year. now senator byrd. no matter what you were doing or covering, if you heard they were on the floor, you would just dart out to take a listen. >> because it was history. and everything i was listening to senator reid talking about -- he would get on -- at the end of the day when the senators go
into their after business hours where they talk about whatever they want to talk about, he could hold talk for so long on the senate history -- huge books like this. and i think one of the things -- my last memory, the last time i saw senate byrd to talk to him and see how he was was the day they brought the hearse by the capitol, carrying the body of senator ted kennedy. they were hours late. and they had brought senator byrd out. he was in a wheelchair in his final months. they brought him out. he was carrying an american flag and he was going to be there for senator kennedy, to whom he was the closest of all those there. he was so late, that they took him back in. when the hearse finally came, he was out there to pay tribute and broke down on the senate floor when he first heard that senator kennedy had brain cancer. >> you talk about the institutional memory of the
senate. that was senator byrd. when i was a young congressional correspondent for "newsweek" up on the hill, i bumped into him and i introduced myself. and he said, young lady, you need to make an appointment and come to my office. so i did. and he mruplunked down that vol he had written on the history of the senate and the processes that govern the senate and he inscribed it to me and he said, you are going to need this, read it. senator robert c. byrd. >> there's a very interesting passage in barack obama's second book, and he talks about how he sought out senator byrd early in his career in the senate. and he used byrd as an example of redemption because he talked about how byrd had been a member of the kkk. but he had turned into someone who was a very strong supporter of civil rights.
i think one of the benefits of serving for as long as he did is he grew and he changed. so much many politics is, you're flip-flopping. people should flip-flop more. they should learn and grow. >> he took -- he had been the secretary to senator russell who was the whip. and he did all the choerz for senator russell. senator mansfield encouraged kennedy to jump for the whip. jumped over byrd. byrd was very irritated by this. he still had to do the work. the next two years, he put the votes together and took kennedy out. they didn't always have the great relationship. as an adversary, he could hold his votes better than anybody. he had 47 "no" votes and he always had 47. one vote maybe he'd have to give the world to. and his goal was to basically move washington, d.c. to west virginia.
he darn near did. in my first experience, putting amtrak together, he wanted to put every train going across this country or coming bac through west virginia. the only thing he let us free on is northeast corridor. he said, are you sure you can't swing that train -- he was as tough and as fair a man as i've ever dealt with. >> i experienced a little bit of senator byrd's power because as chief of staff to the congresswoman from the district of columbia, our job was to try to keep federal buildings and federal employees in the district of columbia. one of our earliest fights was with senator byrd who decided to move the fingerprint lab to west virginia. and he won. he had the votes. he took the facility across the border and he never could recover. and many other federal agencies followed suit. the one thing i want to say, he not only joined the ku klux klan
at an early man, but he was a local chapter president. he really believed in it. he fought the army desegregation. he filibustered the civil rights -- he had a long record of being against civil rights and many of the causes that he later championed. he did flip-flop. and he led and began to become a champion so much that i believe his long-time rating at the naacp was a "b" plus or an "a" minus. he became a champion for civil rights. he was never 100% on some issues, wasn't there at all in many ways. but he did become a champion on equal justice -- >> he endorsed barack obama not before the west virginia primary but after obama lost the west virginia primary and he thought it was so important to this country to elect barack obama that he came and endorsed him afterwards. >> very complicated, sometimes controversial, but a legendary figure here in washington.
we'll join the tributes to senator robert c. byrd. when we come back, our coverage of the kagan confirmation hearings will continue. we'll get the latest on alex when we return as well. the only complete multivitamin with soy isoflavones to help address hot flashes and mild mood changes. new one a day menopause formula.
sitting inside. rite now going on inside actually near the capitol building at the senate judiciary committee are the hearings for elena kagan. she hasn't said a word yet because the members of the judiciary committee get to talk first and sort of frame their arguments, both pro and con, about this nomination. so much going on in washington today. not only do we have those confirmation hearings, we have the senate, indeed the house and all of washington mourning the death of senator robert byrd, the longest serving lawmaker in history, more than 40 years. and then on the supreme court, this was the last day of supreme court rulings which means it was the retirement of the man that elena kagan hopes to replace, justice john paul stevens. jeffrey, you were there because not only was there a retirement, there was a huge -- at least from my point of view, a huge ruling from the supreme court -- very often we'd get these things and they would say, it was narrow.
this seemed like a very big gun ruling. >> at one level, the supreme court is a very small institution. there are very few people who working there. and the court said good-bye to two of its favorite people. one was marty ginzberg and you could see justice sko-- john pa stevens served for one-sixth of the history of the supreme court which is what 35 years is. in between those two you had one of the biggest decisions in many years. justice alito wrote that the second amendment right to keep
and bear arms doesn't just bar the federal government from passing gun control laws but state and local governments are banned from passing gun control as well. what that means in the real world? does it mean tomorrow you can go out and by a stinger missile or a tank? i don't know. the court doesn't spell it out. but there is no more gun control at least in the traditional sense in the united states as of 10:00 this morning. >> this came on the basis of a chicago case where handguns were banned. tomorrow, nothing happens. didn't they also say, at least as far as i read this, that this doesn't necessarily mean there can't be restrictions? >> right. as they often do, they sent the case back to the lower court to figure out the details but if you read the opinion, clearly this law in chicago is out the window. it has been overturned. and the question is, what is now permissible.
i happen to believe there is some way they're going to figure out to say you can't buy a stinger missile and hang out by the airplane. but there is not anything in the opinion that tells you exactly how such a law might be written. >> so then donna, how does this play out if gun rights groups can go to any city and state and test, test any restrictions that are in place, -- >> i haven't read the opinion, but i'm sure that today many people are worried the gun lobby will use this ruling to strike down sensible gun laws across the country. as you know, mayors and others have worked hard over the years to come up with commonsense reform measures to ensure guns are not in the hands of criminals and others who shouldn't possess them. struggle this cause, i think, people to really worry how far the courts will go to just basically tear down all of these rules across the country. >> as i understand the chicago case, it was a complete ban,
like washington, d.c., in effect. i say almost because -- in practice, it was a complete ban. >> it was. if you have the right to a gun, you have the right to a gun. and that's the question that they're going to try to -- >> that's what's going to come up in the hearings for elena kagan because she's going to be questioned about the second amendment because conservatives have already suggested that she's hostile to gun owners. this goes back to a memo she had written or notes actually she had taken. and it was in a product liability case during the clinton administration. and the kkk and the nra were listed as, quote, bad guys. she was actually talking to someone on the phone at the time. the question was, would they also be protected under this law? and so conservatives have said, you know what? she's not for gun owners. >> i'll concede the kkk are bad guys. i'll say the nra are good guys and are joyous in drinking lots of champagne and are prepared to
challenge new york city, washington, d.c. and any other city that has restrictions. >> this is a tremendous victory for the conservative movement in this country. in 1980, when ronald reagan and edwin meese came to washington, d.c., the right that americans had a right to bear arms under the second amendment was crazy. and ed meese pushed the argument that the second amendment gave individuals a right. and today, it's the law of the land in all 50 states and it shows how the constitution changes over time. >> i predict that her answer is going to be a farce and vacuous just as she has said -- >> we'll continue this conversation. it's a fascinating, contentious issue, a big decision today.
we'll continue our conversation and continue to track the kagan confirmation hearings when we concern. soon she will get to give her opening statement to the senate judiciary committee. on the other side of the break, we check in on the track of the first tropical storm of this hurricane season, alex. stopping. it's not that hard. and only allstate pays you an extra bonus to do it. get one of these every six months you go without an accident. [ judy ] what are you waiting for? call or click today for a free quote or to find an allstate agent.
we'll continue to watch the elena kagan confirmation hearings. we're watching the 70-day anniversary, if you will, of the oil spill in the gulf. it's also been 20 days into the hurricane season. over the weekend, big concerns about a tropical storm alex. chad myers, our severe weather expert here, looking at what's going to happen.
is it tracking towards the gulf? >> it's tracking toward brownsville. so the answer is, yes, but not the gulf that we're so worried about. so, yes, the answer is yes. but there's cuba. here's the yucatan peninsula. this is cancun. it's moving across the yucatan peninsula and back into very warm water. this is the bay of campeche, par of the gulf of mexico down here. where are we going from here? if it did come across over beli belize, across the yucatan peninsula and back into very warm water. this storm will get to be a 100-mile-per-hour hurricane with gusts over 125 miles per hour and then forecast to turn to the left and then eventually back up to the right. so, richard, yes. will it affect it, yes, only because at 100 miles per hour it will still be a very large hurricane here in the gulf of mexico and the wind will be drug in from this way across the oil slick and moving all of that oil
back out toward the northwest from these southeasterly winds coming from the southeast and that's a lot of oil even at 15 to 20 miles per hour. that oil will move toward the shores of louisiana and mississippi and alabama. >> when you look at this, is there any consider about surge coming from there? >> no. >> only winds? >> there should not even be one day that they have to stop pumping this because of the waves. it is far away. there will be some roughness but that's it. >> good point. they would have to stop the pumping and move the equipment out of the way. thank you, chad. more details now in terms of what we're watching in the gulf. that oil spill that's now 70 days old, tar balls are now washing up on mississippi beaches for the first time. pascagoula mayor maxwell says they've been planning for this moment for weeks. clean-up crews ready to attack and hitting the shore there.
we're hearing that vice president biden will be in louisiana and florida tomorrow to assess the recovery effort. let me give you some numbers. as for the leak itself, it's estimated at 35,000 to 60,000 barrels gushing out each and every day. that's the number that really hasn't changed from that coalition that came together -- group of experts that have updated that estimate for us. over 70 days when you take a look at the math, that's up to between 2.275 million barrels to 3.9 million barrels. a lot of oil that has come out of that b.o.p. bp says 39,000 people are now out there working on the spill. that's up from before, as you remember, 22,000. they've got 5,000 vessels as well that are out there on the surface trying to battle that clean-up effort. and 652,000 barrels have been skimmed off the surface so far to date. 275 controlled burns is what we
understand right now. that has taken care of 238,000 barrels of oil. and 460,000 barrels have been siphoned off the leak down at that b.o.p. at the bottom as they use the q4000 and the lmrp cap. but storms in the gulf are delaying the plans to beef up the siphoning operation. they have one floating riser that will be able to work well during a hurricane situation. they also have flexible connections with that q4000 that's also attach add t the moment. bp says it has spent $300 million in just the last three days. that's $2.6 billion so far at least. that's where we're at on 70 days since the initial leak. frightening moment in kentucky today. during a speech by vice president biden, more on that after a quick break. [ male announcer ] invest with fidelity and get more for less.
our top stories right now, start with an update on the gulf oil disaster. bp saying crews are making progress on the long-term solution, a pair of relief wells very key to solving this problem. officials saying one of those wells is now just about as deep as the ruptured well but they still have to dig sideways about 900 feet before the relief well can go into operation. senate confirmation hearings going on right now for supreme court nominee elena kagan and battle lines being drawn at the moment. lindsey kagan questioning whether kagan can avoid channeling a political agenda.
and a frightening moment today -- the man who introduced biden, jim campbell, collapsed as biden was talking. ge says campbell fainted but immediately regained consciousness. he was taken to the hospital as a precaution. you could hear the reaction there in the audience. from coal mining countries to the kkk to capitol hill, the story of senator robert byrd's path, long and winding to say the least. we've got highlights and lowlights, too. to keep in balance after 50,
as much a part of the senate as the marble bust that line its chamber and its corridors, that line coming from president obama's warm tribute to senator robert byrd. that bv wv democrat passing away earlier today at the age of 92. he was elected to the senate before mr. obama was even born. now more on his long life and political legacy from cnn's joe johns.
>> reporter: robert carlisle byrd was often called the dean of the senate. the west virginian was an eloquent speaker. >> all freshly steeped in morning dews, so wrote the poet robert byrnes. >> reporter: colorful language aside, in the political arena, the source of byrd's influence in the capitol, his home state reaped generous benefits. >> i lived in a house without running water, no telephone. a little wooden outhouse. i started out in life without any rungs in the bottom of the ladder. i married a coal miner's daughter. >> reporter: byrd was born on november 20th, 1917.
he was raised in west virginia's coal mining communities by his aunt and uncle byrd and took their name. his hard start may have been one of the reasons that byrd made his mark as a hardline conservative on national spending issues. >> we can't afford to give this administration or any other administration a blank check. >> reporter: and a reformer on campaign financing. >> to rise above partisanship and really do something about our present sorry system of financing federal campaigns. >> reporter: a student of history, byrd dressed as a confederate officer in a cameo role. but it was a role that caused him lifelong embarrassment. >> that was an albatross around my neck i would always wear. >> reporter: he later condemned the ku klux klan.
>> mission accomplished. the mission in iraq as laid out has failed, even more disturbing, the disdain for international law and the military bombast of this cocky, reckless administration. >> reporter: in 2001 for the third time in his life, byrd was sworn in as president pro tem of the senate. the honor briefly put him three heartbeats away from the presidency, behind the vice president and the speaker of the house. while he thought about seeking the democratic presidential nomination once, it was the senate floor that served as his bully pulpit, referring to the hostage crisis in iran in 1979 -- >> i think we would be justified in waiting 444 days before we get too serious about fulfilling
iran's need for trade. >> reporter: and america's modern-day dilemma in neighboring iraq. >> instead of keeping murderous al qaeda terrorists on the run, the invasion of iraq has stoked the fires of terrorism against the united states and our allies. fallujah is burning and there is no exit in sight. >> reporter: he spent his life as a senatorial don quixote. why did he stay so long? >> there's no greater honor than that of serving the commonwealth. >> reporter: joe johns, cnn, washington. >> much more on senator byrd's long and distinguished career at cnnpolitics.com. meanwhile, joe manchen will
appoint senator byrd's successor. the question is, how long will that person serve? the remainder of his term or until a special election can be held. west virginia law is a little vague on that. it's got election experts arguing amongst themselves on that. not one, not two, not three but four ivy league schools want her as a student. we'll talk to a young lady who's making her family and the rest of us very proud. she's our "mission possible" and she's up next.
we get to do this here on cnn. we get to introduce you to some very interesting people, inspirational individuals. today, we have fatema hyacinth, going to harvard this fall after being accepted at four ivy league schools. not one but four. the others were yale, brown and the university of pennsylvania. she joins us live from new york. i was reading about your background and thinking, when i was your age, i was just trying to get into one school and you've gotten into four ivy league schools. how did you do it? >> honestly, i can only say that it was luck and perseverance and hard work. i guess the bravery would apply. a lot of support from my family, friends and teachers. >> talking to other 17-year-olds, what's the piece of advice you have for them on how to get this done? >> everybody should find something that they're passionate about and make that thing theirs.
do the best as what you can and make sure that you're very interested in what you're doing. >> what are you passionate about? what's that magic ingredient that your talking about? >> i love community service. i've worked with the philanthropy board at my school. i work with hope shines, a summer camp that operates in rwan rwanda. >> you're keeping busy. you're part of what's called "better chance." it's founded in 1963, its mission is to increase the number of well-educated young people of color who are capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in american society. and throughout the years, the better chance scholars have included african-americans, latinos and asian americans. how did better chance give you a better chance? >> sure.
"better chance" -- when i first applied to independent schools in the seventh grade, better chance was the program that helped me go about that process. that's how i ended up at hewitt, which was my school, in new york. and through that, i was given so many opportunities that i wouldn't have gotten at another school and also i stayed in contact with "better chance." i did different new scholar orientations. now i'm in the "better chance" alum. they were there for me throughout every year of my high school career, making sure that i had something to do and putting me in contact with other scholars. >> and then you took off like a rocket is what happened there. how many hours did you study every day? 20, 22? >> that's a hard question. it varies, depending on whether or not i have a test that i procrastinated for. >> be honest with me, how many hours? three hours, are you a whiz or does it take you 30 minutes to learn everything? >> no, no, no.
it's probably -- maybe five hours, three to five. >> and what's your secret? do you study just by rote memory? what's some of the things that you do that people like myself might want to learn about? >> i like to make connections to things that i see in the real world. if i'm learning about -- if i'm writing an essay for an english class, i think about the person as a real person because it's easier for me rather than memorizing random facts to put them in context. >> what are you doing to do when you grow up? you have a lot of opportunity here. >> that is a very difficult question. i'm interested in international relations. i'm also interested in becoming a psychiatrist. maybe i'll work for the world health organization and maybe mesh the two. >> i was expecting to say president of the united states or something like that. why aim low, my friend? fatima, thank you so much. you truly are inspirational, you are "mission possible" there in
new york, wherever you go, i hear you're going to harvard, have a good time and enjoy yourself. >> thank you very much. have a great day. instant replay, yes or no? in case you missed it, i said instant replay, yes or no? my "xyz" is up next for you. one word turns innovative design into revolutionary performance. one word makes the difference between defining the mission and accomplishing the mission. one word makes the difference in defending our nation and the cause of freedom. how... is the word that makes all the difference.
time now for the "xyz" of it. instant replay, what we armchair sports fans love to watch, debate and love to hate sometimes. after all, it's tv. we like the details, we like pause, we like rewind and the ability to see exactly where a ball landed, a toe touched or a hand grabbed. blame it on monday night football and john madden, we
want our frame-by-frame completely with telestrator and the graphics. it is our right, instant replay. when it comes to watching world cup play on tv over the weekend and the coming days ahead, maybe some of us are feeling a wee bit cheated. the u.s. made to it round 16 truly unexpected after an exciting come-from-behind surge on the pitch before losing their next match. but beyond the vuvuzelas, there was not sound growing from the u.s. audience, the rumbling request for that beloved instant replay. questionable calls brought this to light. there was that offsides call in the u.s. game against slovenia that could have helped the u.s. advance instead of coming now. now such technology takes away from the game, say some purists. those in major league baseball are hearing the same argument for the instant replay. but the u.s. audience is relatively new to